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Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) - Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)

Not Rated.
Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,025 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,025
Reviews: 1,634
rAvg: 4.61
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 3,025
Gots: 1,486 | FT: 107
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
(Yellow Cap)

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-12-2001)
View: Beers (3) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,025 | Reviews: 1,634 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pzrhsau
4.97/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Dark reddish brown body with a robust creamy colored head.
S: Smells like oak. Very woody aroma and has some notes of dried fruits such as figs and dried plums.
T: The beer has a nice bitter woodiness balanced perfectly with some nice sweet dried fruit. Not too heavy but really has a good weight
M/O: Very good carbonation and presentation even after aged for a year. Very good balance with strong alcohol aroma but not overpowering the flavor or the texture This beer is balanced on a knifes edge presenting weight and superior drinkability.

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.1/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I feel like I've always been alone in thinking this is over rated and had to give this another try the night before my wedding, may 27. It's good, but not number one in my book by a long shot. Aged about a year or more.

A: Brown hue with lighter brown highlights and a bubbly off white head. Cloudy look.

S: Smell is dense with bready/dark bread malt character thats dry but not overly sweet smelling. Savory for sure in terms of the grain in there. Some ripened dark fruits abound with a little syrup and nutty notes.

T: Follows the smell but it is not as vibrant as the aroma forshadowed, sort of falls flat over part of the palate though what is there is good for sure: Some almost citrus like twists accompany a ton of dry caramel, chestnut, cinnamon, and of course plenty of grain. There are other quads I enjoy far more than this that are much easier to get!

M: Medium feel with lots of carbonation. Smooth and nice overall.

Photo of rowingbrewer
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this beer pours a nice brown color wh a small off white head that recedes quickly. the smell is sweet, slightly spicey and reminds me of concord grapes. the taste follows suit with a very mild yeasty spiciness, with amazing layers of fruit flavors coming through and a nice sweet finish, but not too sweet. the mouthfeel is full and medium carbed overall this beer more than lived up to the hype. would definitely trade for this beer again.

Photo of jbonapar
4/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, I can't beleive i found this beer! Anyway..

As expected, poured a dark, yet clear beer with alot of yeast and nice head.

Taste: Raisins, dark candy fruit, a spiciness. I'm actually surprised at the lack of complexity. To me, a nice Dark Strong Ale, but overall not as enjoyable as some others. I realize this is the "king" of DSA, but to me, not the best.

Overall: Wonder full, I'm glad I tried it, but I prefer some others. Particularly given the cost and difficulty getting this. Perhaps some fresh from the brewer would be ideal.

Photo of notchucknorris
4.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

200th Review!

A: Pours a very dark and murky Coca Cola-looking brown color with very little head. I wasn't super impressed by the appearance.

S: And here we go. Simply put, I have never smelled a beer that smells this good. It's incredible. I found it nearly impossible to pinpoint all the smells. I got notes of brandy-soaked raisins, fruitcake, chocolate, tons of dark fruit, molasses, some overripe banana and a bit of jackfruit. Unbelievable.

T: Lots of raisin and brown sugar flavor upfront along with some brandy. Hints of plum and raisin on the finish along with a nice warmness on the way down. Some spiciness and a bit of white pepper to be found in this as well. Well worth it's reputation. I don't know if it's my favorite beer ever (still a sucker for Abyss), but this is a stellar beer.

Photo of mcguirmn
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought this fine beer from the Cracked Kettle in Amsterdam. Waited until I returned to the states to drink it.

A: Cloudy, chocolate color with a tan colored head.

S: Bread. Kinda like sourdough. A hint of raisins, dates, and plums, along with cherries.

T: Expected the alcohol to give this beer a nice kick, but the beer masks the ABV well. The taste starts off rather sweet, with a little bitterness in the aftertaste.

M: Somewhere between a light and a medium body. I expected the beer to be much thicker than it was. The thin-ness definitely enhanced the experience, as I expected it to be rather syrupy.

OVERALL: A very nice beer. Maybe it was all the hype, but I can definitely see how this is voted the best beer in the world. The complexity was remarkable. Quadrupels are not my favorite style, but I thoroughly enjoyed Westvleteren 12. If it wasn't so expensive and so damn hard to get, I would definitely put this beer in my rotation.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330 ml bottle poured into my Duvel tulip glass.

A - Dark brown with a huge creamy, tan head. Good retention and some lacing.

S - Dark fruit and spices. Not as strong as I thought it would be.

T - Zapped my tongue. Fruit, carmel, raisins, toffee.

D - Very carbonated, slightly sweet.

O - This is #1. It was extremely good, but not sure if it is my #1.

Photo of Knapp85
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got a bottle of this in a very generous trade with MrKennedy. This beer is really special to say the least and I'm very happy to be reviewing this right now.

This pours out with a murky brown color with some orange highlights, the head is kind of minimals but has a little white ring around the glass. The smell of this beer is very good. Lots of sweet fruit aromas a little Belgian yeast on the nose. Not much in way or hops. The taste is very good, the flavors of apple, fig, and white grapes all come together in a very nice combo. When the beer is colder the mouthfeel is a little thicker feeling. Once it warms up it thins out and the booze aromas start to show. The beer as a whole is very good. It's incredibly easy to drink, it's great to savor over the course an hour if you want to. The finish is dry but smooth and overall just really nice. I can see why people love it so much.

Photo of FLBeerGuy
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage, a nice way to break in my virgin Duvel tulip. Pours a dark cola brown with a thin white head that leaves very little lacing.

Nose is dark fruits (figs, dates, raisins), brown sugar, molasses and some bready yeast.

Taste is much like the nose, figs, dates, rasains, brown sugar molasses, vanilla and some bready yeast Alcohol is hidden well here.

Overall, a very nice quad, not sure it is worth the hype, but being a beer geek, you have to try it.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a dark cola brown with a small head. Had some sediment in the bottom

S: Nose smelled of figs, caramel, brown sugar and grapes.

T: Taste is good with lots of grapes, figs, caramel raisins. Amazing. Very smooth

M: Mouthfeel was good, ABV was well hidden and it kept this beer very drinkable. A very smooth and silky element

O: Overall I can def see why this is world class. Amazing beer

Photo of surlytheduff
4.33/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Decided tonight was the night to finally give this beer a try - been sitting on a couple bottles for a few months now. It was an 8/2010 bottle, so about nine months old. Consumed from an Orval chalice. The beer gave a strong hiss on opening the bottle, and after pouring filled the chalice to the absolute rim with about a finger of a gradient of light brown to frothy white foam. The head receded after a bit, leaving a minimal amount of lacing along the sides of the glass. The beer was a rich brown, with amber highlights around the edges.

The smell was a blend of date & fig, sweet brown sugar and a bready yeastiness. The taste followed right along with where the nose was leading, but stepped up the complexity with additional elements. A peppery spiciness was there along with the candied dark fruits, a little bit of a vanilla and warming alcohol. This is an extremely well rounded and balanced quad flavor. The feel was equally as pleasant - full bodied, with a medium amount of carbonation. The finish was fantastic and imparted no harsh alcohol component. Overall this was a real treat to try - I don't know if after one bottle I'm ready to place it above some of my other quad favorites (St. B, Rochefort 10) but it is definitely a member of the exclusive group of top tier beers of this style.

Photo of Alpar
4.93/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this gem from Trappistlover as an extra! Huge thanks Dave.

A: Big fluffy off white head accompanied by some sediment. An exceptional brown with a ruby hue. Lots of "floaties." Heads

S: Strong port wine, not sure if my nose is off but that is what I am getting. Bready with lots of dark fruits. I think that is where the port wine is coming from...

T: Oh my word! This is far more than I expected. Big bread and fruit just like the smell. There are definitely some spices, not sure what it is though? Not getting much alcohol but this bottle has a little age on it. More robust flavors of bread and plum arise as it warms. Fantastic.

O: I love this beer and will most likely be ISO more, a great treat. Glad I got to try this!

Photo of ChrisPro
3.95/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tasted 2010 vintage blind as part of a top 10 quad tasting with callmemickey and sideshowe.

A - murky orange brown with a distinguishable frothy pillowtop of head. Tons of lacing

S - Spices, lost of sweet caramel, biscuit and roasted nuts.

T - Had a weird off-tasting spice and lots of caramel. nice bitter finish.

M - Very sharp uncomfortable carbonation. Lots of booze. Slick and oily.

O - not very drinkable but tied for #3 out of the 10 best quads. Would do MUCH better with some age.

Photo of rhodeska
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Really good beer, thanks to Hayesez for hooking me up with these.

I opened the 2010 bottle that I had, and really am a fan. I did this side-by-side with a 2003 bottle and much preferred the newer, fresher version. It was a very interesting beer, definitely had a ton of taste and some fruit flavor to it. It was very strong, but even for a quad, I didn't get a strong burn or anything like that from the alcohol. I am interested to open my 2008 and do a test of the middle-of-the-road version.

Photo of Arithmeticus
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured in short drinking glass; shared with friends

A: modest head, orange brown, moderate carb, not much lacing
S: cherry, plum overtones with some molasses in the mix
T: Wow! Lambic-like flavor; very strong cherry, malt; very complex and sweet

This beer is amazing. Get it. Try it.

Photo of andrewinski1
4.2/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Ben for sharing! Poured into a Chimay chalice. Nice dark mauve color dances between amber and brown. There is a spritzy one inch head that leaves a good amount of lacing.

The aroma is full of plums and yeasty pepper. I really like the balance of sweet and spice in the aroma.

The taste is nice and sweet with dates, figs, and a hearty dose of brown sugar and cinnamon. The finish is a little drier with some peppery spice.

The body is medium to heavy and the carbonation is slightly prickly, helping out the sweetness. This is a nice sipper.

I don't think it's MY favorite, but it's very delicious and complex.

Photo of Bendurgin
4.33/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

With impending doom right around the corner I decided it was high time to crack this bad Larry open. Thanks for the hook up Craytonic! Split with Andy and poured into a tulip. This one pours a murky brown with about an inch of white head. It settles to foam with some soapy lace.

The aroma is full of dark fruits with with hints of toffee. Plums and raisins with grape skins and a bit of booze. Lots of grapes in the aroma. Fruity and sweet with a tanic aroma. Hints of molasses sweetbess yo front with lots of dark fruits. Tanic flavors like grapes. This one is a bit on the boozey side though. It finishes with a really nice caramel sweetness to it with a touch of grassy hops.

The feel on this is nice. Really a dry beer with a full body. Soft carbonation makes this one really nice. Overall, this is clearly a well made beer. For my money, I can get stuff stateside that I'll be just as happy with. But don't get me wrong, this one is a rare treat that I'll accept anytime.

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have the fortune to try this one beside a St. Bernardus Abt 12. They use the same yeast. To compare them will be quite exciting.

A: Pour is murky dark brown with a medium large tan head that sinks into great lacings.

S: A rich full smell with lots of sweet malt. A nice mix of bitter and floral hops - lots of dark fruits. Complex, yeasty and spicy.

T: Malty, very malty - sweet, but not to sweet. Some yeast and faint alcohol with spices. A very complex and well balanced beer. Again both floral and bitter hops. Rich dark dried fruits, almost like molasses.

M: A really long after-taste with a creamy sence and both bitter and sweet. Full bodied and mild carbonation.

O: One of the best beers in the world? Well in my opinion: it's clearly a fantastic beer, and in comparison to the St. Bernardus; It's very similar in taste and smell, but in this beer the smell and taste are so much stronger. When it comes to quads; this one is very nice, but I prefer Rochefort 10.

Photo of Vdubb86
4.08/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass

Screw Kyle on this one, thanks to mdfb79 for this taste.

First off a Westy 12, are you serious!?!?!?!?!...Dude, you're the man. And I'm so glad I came over to help Kyle out, this was all the reward I needed.

This beer pours a cloudy dark amber color. I'm guessing some dark Belgian ale. The aroma is actually rather yeasty in nature, like that of rising bread. Though for smelling like yeast, it's oddly pleasant, usually I don't say that. Wow, this tastes worlds different then it smells. There are plums and figs and berries all with a sweet dark caramel sugar flavor. Some spices from either additions or the yeast itself. This is really tasty for a Belgian, if that's the case. I've also changed my opinion to narrow it down to a BDSA or Quad, but since IMHO those are the same, I consider myself right. The reason of this narrowing is that this beer is pretty boozy. It isn't enough to hurt the flavor, but it's not really all that pleasant either. Overall this is a pretty darn good beer. My guess is it could use some time.

May I just express my disappointment at how regular this was for the top beer in the world.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.98/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

No thanks is big enough for mdfb79 for this bottle!

Reviewed blind as part of Blind BIF Round 5. Cap reads 06.10.13. It pours a dark, semi-cloudy burnt auburn topped by a healthy tower of cream foam. The nose comprises dark greens, black pepper, clove, very bready yeast, nutmeg, figs, and light cocoa. The taste holds notes of cinnamon, brown sugar, clove, nutmeg, mild milk chocolate, Belgian yeast, light citrus peel, light cardamom, dark greens, candi sugar, and grass. The body is a hefty-leaning medium, with a light-ish moderate carbonation and an almost astringently chewily dry finish. Overall, this stuff was indeed tasty (and admittedly a little young), but it felt a bit wrong on my tongue. Honestly, I generally enjoyed it, but I've had plenty of better quads in my day.

Photo of delmet
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I decided to review this beer not because I could possibly add anything others have not already, but because this beer somehow is rated the same as pliny the younger. And although I haven't had that beer but the similarly rated elder, I feel there has to be some justice in this world. The pliny is a very good beer, I must admit, and it is a completely different beast, but I don't think it inhabits the same universe as Westvleteren. Westvleteren is a perfect beer. It is not THE perfect beer. But it is, IMHO, absolutely great. It is just so perfectly balanced. It really is a 5 out of 5 sort of a beer. If you have the money and the great luck to find it somehow, you must try it.

Photo of beermanbrian
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The second of my big Christmas stash thanks to my brother. Been saving this one for long time. Was hoping to open to celebrate the Flyers winning the cup but since that isn't going to happen in my lifetime there's no time like the present. Let's see if this worth all the hype.

Pours a deep brown color with a thin tan head that has nice retention. When held up to the light some amber tints show through.

Smell of raisins and plums with a solid candied sugar backbone. Taste of mostly raisins with lots of sweetness up front. Overall just a very smooth impression. Very complex flavors but somehow presented in a very clean way.

Overall an obviously world class beer. Not sure if I agree that it's the best in the world but it is good. Would grab this any time I have the chance.

Photo of bs870621345
4/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The best in the world...here we go...thanks to Augustiner719 for the bottle in a trade a few months ago. 16.2.2013

Pours a hazy ruby brown color with a half inch of head. Head fades quickly leaving no lacing, but there are bubbles comming up from the Chimay C on the goblet.

Smells like tawny port and bread. I would say, figs, prunes, dates, bread, alcohol, raisons, slight orange, chocolate, caramel, and a hint of molassas. It smells...good.

Taste opens with raisons and plums, moves into more fruit and alcohol, finishes with a strong caramel sweetness. Lasting impression is fruity in the mouth with an off tasting alcohol flavor. The alcohol flavor really brings this down...age that sucker.

Mouthfeel is nice, good carbonation and plenty thick.

Overall, its good, no where near the best. Give me a Rochefort 10 and call it a day.

Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.33/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Well, here it is: The World's Finest beer, as listed by both Beer Advocate and ratebeer...

Thanks to excellent trader MrKennedy for this - cheers mate!!

Pours a dark brown with amber hints at the edges. There is plenty of sediment as this was bottled March of 2009. I didn't pour it violently, and not really any head formed. I probably needed to pour a little more forcefully as I babied it too much. Lightly carbonated and little to no lacing...

Aromas are rich and complex. I get a lot of fig, raisin, some applesauce, A hint of brown sugar. The aroma profile is very robust, too. Maybe a hint of bubblegum, too. Overall a quite sweet and rich smelling beer.

Oh, yeah - the Basics: No idea on price and 10.2% ABV...

The beer lacks carbonation. That's too bad. It must simply be a case of storage. Very rich and malty upfront, and very sweet. I get a ton of caramel malt, brown sugar, and raisin flavors, just as was suggested by the aroma profile. Middle sees it round out somewhat and show off more of the yeast. I get a touch of bitterness from this and then it quickly morphs into the finish where the yeast character takes us to the finish line. I have to say that, even considering how hyped it was, and I certainly was expecting a lot, this is not nearly as good as even St. Bernardus ABT 12 or Pliny the Younger (I know, not a quad, but a better beer for sure). I'm not certain a better stored or fresher bottle would have made a huge difference. If the carbonation wasn't completely gone, I'm sure I'd like it more. As it is, the flavors don't burst and it is overall simply too sweet...bummer...

What I like most: The wonderful aroma profile.

What I like least: The complete lack of carbonation.

Verdict: Unfortunately, this doesn't pass even the second tier of quads I have had, and unfortunately it's not the Monks' fault as this is simply a question of poor storage...what a bummer.

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.45/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of cmurren25, many thanks to you Chad! Had this as part of a horizontal tasting with Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus 12. Pours a dark brown color with a creamy, large and voluminous tan head. Very good looking brew.

The westy has the best nose of the three trappist quads with a nice balance of fruit, caramel and light roast.

Lots of chocolate and bready yeast. I am surprised by the amount of roast this has! A bit of an earthier, woody tone to it compared to the St. Bernardus and Rochefort. Body is just about right, not quite chewy but plenty viscous. This most certainly is a world class beverage, but I am pretty surprised at how close St. Bernardus comes to this. The Rochefort came in a distant third for me. Great beer, cant wait to try one in Belgium one of these days...

Trappist Westvleteren 12 (XII) from Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)
100 out of 100 based on 5,025 ratings.